Staples students unfazed by food contamination at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Casey Lu, Staff Writer

Boasting over 1,700 locations, Chipotle has capitalized on this millennium’s healthy fast food revolution. Yet, the “good guy” among more conventional chains seemed to betray its image mid-October when E. coli, a bacteria whose main symptoms include bloody diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting, appeared in Washington and Oregon franchises.

This contamination was not isolated, as the Mexican food chain’s E. coli issue spread west, reaching New York nearly Staples territory by November. As the situation came to a close, December brought another Chipotle crisis: a norovirus outbreak at Boston College, which constantly receives Staples graduates.

However, current Staples Chipotle lovers had various reasons for remaining unfazed amidst the storm.

“[Food contamination is] not something I spend a lot of time thinking about,” Monique Østbye ’18 admitted.

Østbye also noted her admiration for the chain’s practice of “[making] sure that all their food they are getting is sourced ethically.”

Others, like Jared Himmel ’16, remained committed to Chipotle because E. coli did not surface locally. “Chipotle will always be in my heart and stomach,” Himmel declared.

Meanwhile, former Wreckers at Boston College (BC) voiced a different opinion, as their school’s experience with Chipotle’s norovirus was direct.

Luis Cruz ’15 believes the virus hurt BC athletics. “The basketball team suffered a loss since their top players weren’t playing [due to being stricken by norovirus],” Cruz said.

Lina Boehmer ’15 was also wary of Chipotle. “Even with changes, I don’t know if I will ever be eating there again,” Boehmer admitted.

However, when examining Chipotle’s contamination as one part of the greater American food industry, even current Staples students admitted to having concerns.

“They try to cut corners to make the biggest profit,” Østbye said of the food industry, adding that she “[doesn’t] know if there’s anything we can specifically do.”

The manager of the Westport Chipotle declined to comment, citing liability issues and redirecting any interested parties to the Chipotle website.